Arm Yourself: Dr. McGowen’s COVID-19 Story
A message from Dr. Robert McGowen, Southcoast Physicians Group Family Medicine, Wareham, on how to arm yourself against COVID-19:
The low point for me was Friday, February 12, 2021. It was the middle of the second surge. So many of my patients tested positive for COVID-19. Later, I received news that three of the patients I cared for had passed away.
Thinking back, one of the most beneficial aspects available to us now, the vaccine, could have protected my patients who got severely ill and died. Though it was released on December 11, 2020, the vaccine was not immediately available to the public and it was too late for many of these patients and others who had already contracted COVID-19.
For those reasons, I was in line to get the vaccine the day it became available to me. After that, I encouraged my entire family to get vaccinated. My mother even traveled over 200 miles to get her vaccine when the opportunity to get vaccinated was scarce.
Once Southcoast Health set up the vaccination sites, I did whatever it would take to get people vaccinated. I volunteered to administer the vaccine, helped patients schedule appointments, and educated those still on the fence about the vaccine.
I made it my mission to be a source of reliable information for patients that had not been vaccinated – addressing the misinformation and presenting them with facts supported by science and technology.
The vaccines are safe. Over 360 million doses have been given to date, with few adverse reactions. The vaccines work. The delta variant is more infectious than the original virus, but the vaccine is still remarkably effective. In study after study, it protects against serious illness, hospitalization, and death.
Our battle is not over. We are all tired of the masks, the isolation, and the restrictions. However, there is a way through. When we join together to get vaccinated, we don’t just protect ourselves; we protect our loved ones and the entire community. It is a simple act resulting in a significant benefit for all.
We are at a crucial moment in human history, and our actions today will help shape the future for so many. Arm yourself with the facts to make an informed decision. Visit www.southcoast.org/covid-19-vaccination to find upcoming vaccination opportunities at Southcoast Health, and please speak to your medical provider if you have questions or concerns. You can also find other places to get vaccinated at www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccination-locations.